Northern Cemetery Memorial Roses

Dunedin’s Northern Cemetery, opened in 1872, contains more than 17,000 burials, representing a cross-section of the city’s population from its earliest days to the 1930s.

One of the attractions of the cemetery is the proliferation of roses which adorn the graves, all lovingly planted as memorials to family members. The roses make an interesting study with their variety of colours and types. Some are well known and occur on several graves. Others are unidentified, and one, though commonly used as a memorial, is now on the Department of Conservation’s noxious plant list.

This trail takes in a dozen or so representative graves, all from the decade 1882 to 1892, whose roses have survived for more than a century. The trail brochure, as well as describing the lives of the dead persons, identifies the roses and explains some of the symbolism which led to their choice. Most obviously, white roses, such as Félicité Perpétue, are used on the graves of small children or young women to symbolise their innocence and purity.

The trail can be completed within an hour of easy walking, though roses enthusiasts may choose to follow up some of the further graves briefly mentioned in the brochure or simply explore for themselves.

This trail was produced by the Southern Heritage Trust for Heritage Roses Otago. Printed brochures of this and several other Northern Cemetery trails are available from the Sexton's Cottage .

Click here to download Memorial Roses (455Kb)